Author: Crissa-Jean Chappell
Release date: August 8th 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
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Seventeen-year-old stoner Aaron Foster was offered a choice: go to jail or turn undercover narc to find the dealer who's funneling drugs into Miami's Palm Hammock High School. But Aaron has never been good at getting close to people. He's human wallpaper, a stoner wastecase who's obsessed with video games and street magic.My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
With a cop from Narcotics breathing down his neck, Aaron gets himself invited to parties where the deals go down. To get close to the school's biggest players, Aaron lies to everyone--most of all, the cute but troubled Morgan Baskin. With the Everglades party on Halloween night--and a planned drug bust there--just days away, Aaron realizes that he's falling hard for Morgan . . . and trying to protect her could cost him everything.
I was so excited for Narc, since I love the cover, and the premise sounded perfect for me. It turned out to be only an okay read for me, though, and I didn't connect with the story like I was hoping I would.
I still love the whole idea of reading about a narc, and the plot is very well-done. Even if I didn't love everything about this book, I did enjoy finding out how something like this would work, how someone would go about setting up a drug bust. The question of whether or not Aaron would go through with it is what kept me reading. It might sound strange, but I liked reading about the whole scene and what these people are like, since their lives are so different from mine.
Other than that, though, Narc wasn't a book I really enjoyed reading. Crissa-Jean Chappell's writing isn't terrible, but it never sucked me in. I found myself bored and thinking about other stuff a few times, and I had to go back to see what was going on because the book hadn't captured my attention. Maybe that's my fault, not paying close attention, but I could just never really get into it.
Aaron is an okay character. I didn't have a problem with him, but I never connected with him, either. I still don't quite understand the motivation behind his becoming a narc - his little sister was busted with pot, and he lied to the cops to keep her safe, telling them it's his. The cops then offer him the narc-deal. Throughout the book, Aaron says he's doing this for his sister, to make sure his sister doesn't go to jail, but... would a fourteen-year-old have to go to jail for owning some pot? I don't know much about this stuff, but that doesn't sound realistic. Sure, there'd be consequences, but I can't imagine them being that bad, bad enough for Aaron to basically give up his whole life to prevent them. I don't think we got to know enough about the brother-sister relationship to understand why Aaron would do this to protect Haylie.
The secondary characters had a lot of potential. All of them are seriously messed up and have a lot of issues that could have been interesting to find out more about. But we never got to look beneath the surface, to see what was troubling these people. I didn't understand Aaron's attraction to Morgan - definitely insta-love - because we never really got to know Morgan. I would have loved to get to know these people better, and each of their stories had a lot of potential, but their lives weren't explored enough to make them more than cardboard representatives of certain issues.
The overall message of Narc confused me. It felt like it was saying what Aaron did was completely wrong, which I found strange. No, I didn't want him to betray his friends, but it's not like what he did is all bad - helping the cops bust a drug lord and try to control drug use is not a bad thing. The complications in the story do make this a difficult choice, but condemning everything Aaron did feels wrong, to me.
Towards the end, it does get a little better. There's more action in the lass 30 pages or so, and I really like the way the author decided to end things. But still, the ending wasn't enough to redeem the whole book, for me.
The set-up of Narc had a lot of potential, but to me, the execution fell short. I never really connected with the story, and the characters felt flat to me. I'd recommed reading Ferocity Summer instead - the set-up is similar, but Alissa Grosso does a much better job of developing her story, in my opinion.